Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Twisting turns in our Saturday Jump Lesson

Well as I let on in my previous post, my Saturday jump lesson with P was definitely one to remember. I am splitting it into two parts since the actual lesson was very different from the overcoming obstacles and self doubt part.

------------------------------ Part 1 ----------------------------- 

The east coast finally had a nice thaw this weekend with Saturday being so warm I was able to wear short sleeves!!! It was so nice out in fact that it got me to rally despite my severe sore throat, no voice and ear infection to go make my lesson. I am glad I did because the more I moved and longer my antibiotics were in my system, the better I felt.

Warming up before P arrived Tillie felt happy and ready to work. She has a new "sass" habit that is much milder then her blow ups before warming up that usually entail a few whip nae naes of her head when first asking to trot or first really using any leg. Its her way of saying...yeaaaaa no I am not really wanting to do that. She also tends to do this sometimes when we first canter OR when we do a jump really well and shes happy. So its universal way of Tillie saying, I am Queen Bee and I am in charge.

Queen Bee herself looking a little bit more like a giraffe then a Queen
I am not worried about it at all and happy that this is what I ride through now over bucking and dolphining without steering. 

I cantered her both leads and really tried to work on getting some softness and a true bend through her body since I feel like shes happy to stay where ever she puts herself, but as soon as I ask for something else she gives me the whip nae naes like our first canter warm up:

Her left lead canter warm up is below and she really started understanding and letting me manipulate her a bit more:

Once P arrived, we all filed in nose to tail and did some trot over ground poles to establish a rhythm. I am noticing that seems to be a trend the last few lessons. NOTE: Tillie's tail wag in her trot in this video really makes me smile:

As you can see in the warm up video, P had quite an interesting set of jumps for us. What is really neat about the exercise is there were lots of turns making establishing a good rhythm both needed and really hard (since riding forward through turns is something I never could do before with my hot horse) BUT a lot of lead changes throughout. It required me as a rider to really plan ahead and set up Tillie to bend and use my weight and seat cues to tell her to land on the lead in the direction we would be going. Easier said then done...so after some confusion about the order of jumps we all had a turn:

So we didnt quite get the leads at first...but I really didnt catch on this was the point until after watching everyone else go after my turn (I am a visual learner, what can I say?). So the next round I decided to commit to cantering the entire thing...we almost got all the leads!!! 

I would have liked the simple change to come a bit faster and cleaner, but she was a unbalanced through the turn so it took a bit of convincing her to stop bracing to get it. Other than that this was one of better more steady, even rounds. I just love her tail flip over the oxer:

P made it a bit harder and added a new pattern with bending lines...Tillie and chipped into the first fence but recovered nicely. We also came in slightly tight to the over, but I LOVED how well she sat to jump it rather then curl under herself like she normally does. Because of this we didnt get the lead, but it didnt throw off the tempo at all. We continued and didnt get the lead again which I think was my fault not shifting my weight in time after the tight turn. After the entire thing, I really was surprised at how nice her trot was...the quality of it as well as the relaxation:

There were ALOT of us in this lesson so we didnt get to have many chances at it, but I liked that...it simulated the standing around at a show and having to wake Tillie up and say pay attention! In the past we have had issues getting our ryhthm early enough in a course. 

Ill admit, I wasnt feeling totally great about this lesson until re-watching the footage. P had said after the first round to really sink my weight down in my heels more - which I think she meant it as how to shift or change balance better to get the change, but during the lesson it sounded in my brain like an up-down remark you hear all instructors say : "heels down, sit tall"...lol. Also, P said Tillie was a bit curled and not stretching like she wants and attributed it mostly to the tight turns but softly reminded me to think about that...I guess we need to start working on longer reins and achieve this same control.
us looking more dressage here than when we ride in dressage lessons
I got home passed out and this morning watched the videos and was pleasantly surprised to see how polished we looked despite our mistakes. 

So, Part 2 to come tomorrow!! Heres to hoping my ear infection will be cleared up before then since it quite literally hurts :( 


  1. i mean - at least you didn't get totally and irretrievably lost through those courses, which is more than, *ahem*, some of us can say!! ;P seriously tho, Tillie looks so good - like she's really diggin her job !

    1. lol thats only because I watched everyone else go first!

  2. You guys look great! I don't know how you managed to string together all those fences without having to stop for directions after every jump!

    1. I was a bit lost first hearing P explain it, not going to lie

  3. Obviously there are bobbles in there, but overall you guys are looking really good.